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GLORIA GOVRIN TO TAPE VIDEO SERIES FOR THE GEORGE BALANCHINE FOUNDATION

Longtime New York City Ballet soloist to teach and coach three major solos choreographed on her by Balanchine

New York City—Gloria Govrin danced with New York City Ballet from 1959 to 1974 and was promoted to soloist in 1963. An unusually tall dancer, she inspired Balanchine to choreograph several distinctive roles on her. Among the most important are the revised Coffee variation in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the soloist in the first movement of Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. Ms. Govrin will analyze these roles for the cameras of the George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive. This video series seeks to document the ideas and insights of those on whom Balanchine created major roles, in an attempt to capture his original intentions through coaching sessions with dancers of today. Taping will take place September 3, 2012, at the New York City Ballet studios in the Rose Building, Lincoln Center, New York.

Ms. Govrin will work with New York City Ballet members Teresa Reichlen, principal dancer, and Georgina Pazcoguin and Emily Kikta of the corps de ballet. Solo pianist Nancy McDill of the New York City Ballet Orchestra will play for the coaching session. The interview segment will be conducted by Nancy Reynolds, the Foundation’s director of research, who will also supervise the taping, assisted by former film professor Virginia Brooks, and Nichol Hlinka, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and associate project director for the series.

Balanchine’s Nutcracker premiered in 1954. In 1964 he created an entirely new dance for the role of Coffee, of which New York Times critic Allen Hughes wrote: “It presents Ms. Govrin as an exotic temptress in bare-midriff costume. It is an excellent short dance that manages to include some toe-dancing, a split, a backbend in which the toe touches the head, and other things—all blended into a unified composition that is graceful and beguiling. In Coffee, Ms. Govrin has received one of the most unusual and flattering assignments she has ever had" (12/12/64). As Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Ms. Govrin was described as a "strongly jumping and turning Amazon." Of her flamboyant role in the lush Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Margo Miller of the Boston Globe found that "a thrusting wave of sound . . . bears Govrin on its crest," while Clive Barnes, Chief Dance Critic of The Times, considered her to be "intense and flashing" in the role (4/22/66). Ms. Govrin has described this part as her favorite of all those Balanchine created on her. Ms. Reynolds observed, "Looking at the solos Mr. B made for Gloria reminds us once again of his uncanny ability to mold his choreography to reflect the special abilities of the dancer(s) he has chosen to create for."

GLORIA GOVRIN, a product of the School of American Ballet, danced with New York City Ballet from 1959 to 1974, attaining the rank of soloist in 1963. In addition to those mentioned above, Balanchine ballets with roles created on her include Firebird, Harlequinade, Don Quixote, Raymonda Variations, Clarinade, and Trois Valses Romantiques. She danced principal roles in a variety of other ballets, including Balanchine's Western Symphony, Apollo, Prodigal Son, Episodes, Four Temperaments, Stars and Stripes, and Liebeslieder Walzer; Jerome Robbins's The Cage and Fanfare; and Lew Christensen's Con Amore. After her retirement from the stage, she opened a ballet school and later became principal teacher at the Rock School, the official academy of the Pennsylvania Ballet. In 1999, she was invited by Helgi Tomasson to be the associate director of the San Francisco Ballet School. At present she is artistic director of Eastern Connecticut Ballet.

TERESA REICHLEN joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice in 2000 and became a full member in 2001. She was promoted to soloist in 2005 and to principal dancer in 2009. She has performed leading roles in more than twenty Balanchine ballets, including Apollo, Concerto Barocco, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania, Hippolyta), Prodigal Son, Jewels, Kammermusik No. 2, and Western Symphony; in several Robbins ballets, including Antique Epigraphs, The Cage, and The Four Seasons; in Peter Martins's Swan Lake (Odette/Odile) and Barber Violin Concerto, among others; in Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain, Les Carillons, Polyphonia, and DGV: Danse à Grand Vitesse; and in works by Mauro Bigonzetti, Ulysses Dove, and Jorma Elo.

EMILY KIKTA joined New York City Ballet in 2010 as an apprentice and became a full member in 2011. She has danced as soloist in the first movement of Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and originated a role in Peter Martins's Ocean's Kingdom.

GEORGINA PAZCOGUIN joined New York City Ballet as an apprentice in 2002 and became a full member in 2003. She has danced featured roles in Balanchine's Scotch Symphony and The Nutcracker (including Coffee); in Jerome Robbins's The Concert, Interplay, Les Noces, and West Side Story Suite (Anita), among others; in Peter Martins's The Sleeping Beauty (Carabosse), Swan Lake, and Waltz Project, among others; and in Alexei Ratmansky's Russian Seasons. She originated featured roles in Martins's Romeo + Juliet (Juliet's Nurse) and Ocean's Kingdom (Scala).

NANCY REYNOLDS, a dance historian and former member of the New York City Ballet, is the Balanchine Foundation's director of research and director of the Foundation's video archives program, which she conceived and continues to direct.

VIRGINIA BROOKS, Professor Emerita of Film at Brooklyn College/CUNY and director of several dance documentaries, has been editor of the Balanchine Foundation's video archives program since its inception in 1994.

NICHOL HLINKA, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, danced leading roles in numerous Balanchine ballets in her twenty-year performing career. She joined the Balanchine Foundation in 2010 and was recently named associate project director for the video archives program.

The George Balanchine Foundation (www.balanchine.org) is a not for profit corporation established in 1983. Its mission is to create programs that educate the public and further Balanchine's work and aesthetic, with the goal of advancing high standards of excellence in dance and its allied arts. Among the Foundation's major initiatives are the Video Archives (http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/03/gbfvideoarchives.html), in which important Balanchine dancers teach and coach roles created on them by Balanchine with dancers of today (Interpreters Archive) or recreate Balanchine ballets that are rarely performed and in danger of disappearing (Archive of Lost Choreography). Legendary dancers who have taken part in this project include Alicia Markova, Maria Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Alicia Alonso, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Todd Bolender, Merrill Ashley, Suzanne Farrell, Rosella Hightower, Marie-Jeanne, Violette Verdy, Edward Villella, Patricia Wilde, Yvonne Mounsey, and Helgi Tomasson, working with leading dancers from such companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, among others.

In 2007 the Foundation announced the completion of another major initiative, the online publication of the Balanchine Catalogue, a fully searchable database giving first-performance details of all known dances created by Balanchine, supplemented by lists of companies staging the ballets, a bibliography, a videography, reference resources, a database of roles Balanchine performed, and additional related materials (http://www.balanchine.org/balanchine/03/balanchinecataloguenew.html). The project was made possible by a leadership grant from The Jerome Robbins Foundation.

Earlier projects include Popular Balanchine (http://balanchine.org/balanchine/03/popularbalanchine.html); comprising forty-two boxes of material pertaining to Balanchine's commercial work, housed at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library, and Music Dances: Balanchine Choreographs Stravinsky (http://balanchine.org/balanchine/03/musicdances.html) a video by Professor Stephanie Jordan of Roehampton University, London.


 

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